The Art of the Sell — The Long Goodbye movie poster

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art.

When high-powered director Robert Altman presided over an adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, one of several novels featuring hardboiled private detective Philip Marlowe, the studio United Artists understandably felt compelled to signal to counterculturally inclined ticket buyers that the new cinematic offering had a significantly different tone and temperament from previously bigscreen appearances by the character, no matter how fine those films might have been. Among several movie posters, one featured art by Mad stalwart Jack Davis, complete with the publication’s trademark blocky word balloons dishing jokes that are simultaneously sharp and groan-worthy. In actuality, the poster doesn’t really match the scuffling charm of Altman’s film. In its conviction to flout rules of safe marketing, it’s a exemplary reflection of Altman’s artistry.

Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.

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